Building a Culture of Belonging at Windward – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion = Belonging

The Windward School is officially adding “belonging” where it references the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI. For example, Windward’s Diversity Office will now be known as the DEIB Office, we are currently searching for a Director of DEIB, and our Diversity Advisors will have their titles changed to DEIB Advisors.

You might ask what does DEIB mean, and what do the individual words convey? Here is a breakdown of the definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how those words together reflect Windward’s ultimate goal for the School’s community members—belonging. Definitions have been adapted from the National Association of Independent Schools’ Diversity Work in Independent Schools.

Diversity - The wide range of human characteristics used to mark or clarify identities, such as ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. The term is used as shorthand for quantifiable statuses. For example, does the School’s population reflect the region’s racial diversity? Modern-day U.S. society consists of 30-40% people of color.

Equity - As a function of fairness, equity implies ensuring that people have what they need to participate in school life and reach their full potential. In equitable schools, systems are in place to support equal access to the program, services, activities, and technologies. Examples are tuition assistance to ensure that all children who need to attend Windward can do so or a faculty mentorship program for new hires of color. 

Inclusion - Taking every individual's experience and identity into account, the School strives to create conditions in which all are accepted, safe, supported, and affirmed. Community members understand the language used when talking about gender, oppression, race, identity, etc., and they can devise solutions when issues arise. An example is when people stand up for those marginalized within interpersonal situations. 

Diversity + Equity + Inclusion = Belonging

All three elements—diversity, equity, and inclusion—are important, and all must be present in a school to truly build a culture in which every individual experiences a powerful sense of belonging. This is when all community members can thrive and be their authentic selves every day.